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25 Exciting Adventure Activities in Queenstown

25 Exciting Adventure Activities in Queenstown

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Are you thinking of visiting Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand? Well, I might be slightly biased, but that doesn’t make it any less true!

I’m definitely more of an outdoor gal, and love getting out there and exploring whenever I have the chance. From ziplining to jetboating and so much more, I’ve done it all here in Queenstown, and let me tell you, my hometown really doesn’t disappoint.

In this blog, I’ve included info about 25 different Queenstown adventure activities including important info such as what to expect, the price, the best time of year, and more.

These tours all range in how “extreme” they are, and as such, even if you aren’t a huge adrenaline junkie I’m sure you’ll find a few suitable experiences mentioned in this blog! But enough chattering on, let’s get started!

25 Adventure Activities in Queenstown

1. Jet boating

Bailey from My Queenstown Diary jet boating in Queenstown
As you can tell, I was having a ton of fun!

Jet boating is likely one of the most popular adventure activities in Queenstown. Not only is it a ton of fun, but it is an affordable and exciting way to get out on the water to soak in unique vantage points.

From inside a speed boat, you’ll race around rivers and lakes stopping only inches from the shoreline or rocks. Your driver will execute 360-degree spins with speed. You’ll scream and laugh the entire time, I guarantee it.

Jet boating tours are also some of the most affordable adventure activities in Queenstown with the cheapest tours starting under $80 NZD per person. Plus, jet boating is fun for the whole family allowing most children over the age of 2 to ride with adults.

Not to mention, jet boating tours run all year round – rain or shine. I mean, you’re going to get wet anyway, so jet boating is actually one of the best things to do on a rainy day.

There are 5 different jet boat operators in Queenstown so there are plenty to choose from. They are:

K-Jet – This is who I did my jet boating ride with. They leave from the wharf in Queenstown and the tour lasts for 1 hour. It was really fun and I can personally recommend this tour. It is good value for money and one of the cheapest options too!

Shotover Jet – These guys operate in the Shotover Canyon on the Shotover River and they are the most famous company in Queenstown. Many claim this tour to be more thrilling than those that depart on Lake Wakatipu. Plus, the Shotover River is stunning!

Real NZ – This is the other company that operates from the Queenstown Wharf. I’ve tried a lot of Real NZ tours and had a great time! They are the cheapest company in Queenstown and offer both a 25-minute and 1-hour ride.

Skippers Canyon Jet – This is another company operating in the Shotover River, however, their tour is in Skipper Canyon. This canyon is said to be narrower so the ride is supposed to be really scary!

Dart River Adventures – This is easily the most unique jet boating tour. It’s actually in Glenorchy and goes down the Dart River to an area literally called Paradise. The tour is the most expensive but it includes a scenic drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy, jet boating, a nature walk, and then a bus tour back.

With so many options, it can be hard to choose a tour operator. With that said, each company has its own advantages. For the most thrilling experience, go with Skippers Canyon Jet or Shotover Jet; for the most convenience, go with K-Jet or Real NZ; and for the most adventurous go with Dart River Adventures!

2. Ziplining

A person ziplining in Queenstown, NZ upside down with Ziptrek Eco Tours
The views are epic!
A man ziplining in Queenstown through the forest
So much fun!

Of course, this blog about adventurous things to do in Queenstown couldn’t be complete without ziplining! Less scary than bungy jumping, ziplining offers panoramic views from high up in the air as you speed through the treetops. It’s fun and the views are stunning!

When booking, there are a few different zipline experiences available in Queenstown depending on how many lines you want to do, how much time you have, and you’re budget.

The Moa Tour has 4 different lines that start low and gradually increase in their height, length, and speed. This is ideal if this is your first time ziplining.

The 1-hour Kereru Tour while shorter than the Moa is a bit more thrilling as it includes 2 lines and a 22-meter drop (72 feet) at the end.

If you choose the Kea Tour you’ll get to do 6 lines along with the world’s steepest zipline which descends 30 stories at 70 kilometers (44 miles) an hour!

The tours are guided and you’ll take your time learning about the area along the way. In fact, the 6 zip line tour is almost 3 hours long!

You can book one of these thrilling experiences online in advance. Prices range from $112 NZD to $199 NZD per person.

Please Note: The ziplining tours mentioned above start at Bob’s Peak, so you’re either going to have to hike the Tiki Trail to get there or take the Skyline gondola. If you choose the gondola, this price is additional ($46 NZD) and you’ll need to coordinate your zipline tour start time with the gondola operating times.

3. Skydiving

Skydiving over the Southern Alps with Skydive Southern Alps near Glenorchy
What a view to skydive to! Photo credit – Skydive Southern Alps

The most extreme adventure activity in Queenstown is, of course, skydiving! I’ve personally skydived twice in my life, once in Canada and once in Australia. Although I haven’t had the chance to skydive in Queenstown (yet) it’s definitely something I’ve heard awesome things about!

In Queenstown, you have the choice between a few different skydiving experiences. You can book right in town and choose between 9,000 feet, 12,000 feet, and 15,000 feet jumps. The difference between these jumps is the amount of freefall time and the price. The 15,000-foot jump is the most expensive but offers the longest free fall time. Also, bragging rights come along with completing the highest and most crazy 15,000 ft jump!

Alternatively, for a super cool experience, you can also book this full-day tour to Mount Cook that includes a 10,000 ft, 13,000 ft, or 15,000 ft skydive. That’s right, you’ll experience NZ’s tallest mountain (Mount Cook) from up in the sky! Although a long day, Mount Cook is a must-see destination here in NZ, and I can only imagine that skydiving there would be seriously epic.

4. Hydro Attack Queenstown

Hydro Attack speeds through the water in Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown
Even when its raining you can enjoy Hydro Attack. Photo credit: Hydro Attack Queenstown

Have you heard of the Hydro Attack Shark? Not likely, because it’s an activity that is unique to Queenstown. Rumor has it, that the guy who designed these cool machines has a patent on them and that’s why you’ll only see them in Queenstown.

The Hydro Shark is like a jet ski, but it also goes underwater like a shark.

Basically, you sit in a seat behind the driver, and like a fighter jet, they close the windscreen over you. Then, you’ll fly across the water before the shark makes fast dives below the water and then pops up out of the water. I’ve never done it before but it’s always zooming around on Lake Wakatipu and I’ve often wondered what it’s like.

The Hydro Shark isn’t a cheap activity and for a 15-minute ride, it’ll cost you upwards of $155 NZD. With that said, it’s unique to Queenstown and easily a top adventurous experience.

Note: The Hydro Shark is often fully booked during weekends or peak seasons, be sure to book your experience in advance to avoid missing out!

5. Go on a quad tour

Nomad Safaris Quad bike tour
Photo credit: Nomad Safaris

Quad bikes, also known as ATVs, are a fun way to do some sightseeing outside of town as you drive yourself around rough terrain. Climb up mountains, cross rivers, and speed through the mud! You name it, the quad will (try) to tackle it.

One of the most popular adventure tours in Queenstown involves driving your own quad around on Queenstown Hill on a guided quad biking tour. Your guide will teach you everything you need to know before setting off to enjoy some of the most incredible views from up above Queenstown.

With weatherproof gear provided, quad biking is one of the adventure tours you can do in Queenstown even when it’s raining or cold (a perfect winter activity if you ask me).

This quad biking tour is suitable for anyone 16 years or older, and it’s even great for people who’ve never driven a quad before. The tour departs from central Queenstown and lasts for 3.5 hours. Expect to pay around $303 NZD per person.

6. Whitewater rafting

Bailey take a selfie while white water rafting in New Zealand

Whitewater rafting is one of the most popular things to do in New Zealand, and on the South Island, Queenstown is just the adventurous place to try it!

There are actually a couple of different tours to choose from depending on the experience you want to have. There are different levels of rapids ranging from 1-3 all the way up to class 5 beasts that’ll have you holding on for dear life.

I’m not going to lie, I have lots of rafting experience and actually tackled one of the top three rafting rivers in Patagonia one year. For that reason, I love the Shotover River rafting tour. It goes on class 4-5 rapids with names such as Aftershock, Squeeze, Toilet, and Pinball. It’s a fun tour for those wanting to challenge themselves.

For those a little less experienced, there is this rafting/jet boating tour that includes a jet boat ride and a paddle down class 2-3 rapids.

7. Bungy jumping

A person hangs from a bungy cord at Kawarau Bridge Bungy in Queenstown, NZ
The river at Kawarau Bridge Bungy really is that blue!

Queenstown is the home of bungy jumping! AJ Hackett ran the first-ever commercial bungy jump in the world here in Queenstown in 1987. Since then, bungy jumping has become one of those bucket-list things to do in Queenstown and around the world!

In fact, bungy jumping is probably the most iconic adrenaline-filled activity you can do in Queenstown – and probably all of New Zealand for that matter!

In Queenstown, you have your choice of not one, but three different bungy jumps! Below I’ve compared them all for you:

Ledge Bungy:

  • Height: 47 meters (154 feet)
  • Location: Bob’s Peak near Skyline Queenstown
  • Tandem Allowed: No
  • Price: $205 NZD
  • The best part: Although only a 47-meter jump, the location on the side of a mountain makes it seem higher. Plus, the views are awesome!

Kawarau Bungy:

  • Height: 43 meters (141 feet)
  • Location: Kawarau Bridge (about a 20-minute drive from town center)
  • Tandem Allowed: YES!
  • Price: $205 NZD
  • The best part: From Queenstown, you can bungy and be back in under 2 hours at this location. You are also allowed to tandem jump here or even go naked (if you’re into that…)

Nevis Bungy:

  • Height: 134 meters (440 feet)
  • Location: Nevis River 1.5 hours from Queenstown (must take their 4wd bus to get there)
  • Tandem Allowed: no
  • Price: $275 NZD
  • The best part: It’s New Zealand’s highest bungy (3rd biggest in the world with over 8 seconds of free fall!) Once you’re out there, you can pair the bungy with the Nevis Swing and Catapult which are other popular Queenstown adventure experiences.

8. Shotover Canyon Giant Rope Swing

Shotover Canyon Swing
Photo credit: Shotover Canyon Swing
Shotover Canyon Swing 1
Photo credit: Shotover Canyon Swing

If bungy jumping sounds like fun, but just a little bit too extreme then the Shotover Canyon Swing in Queenstown will be perfect for you! Like bungy, you’ll hurl yourself off a 109-meter-high platform (358 feet) directly into the Shotover Canyon. You’ll free fall for 60 meters (197 feet) before swinging out into the canyon on a giant rope swing! It’s both exciting and scenic.

The Shotover Canyon Swing is located at, you guessed it, the stunning Shotover Canyon. So really, it isn’t far from Queenstown. A bonus to this adventure tour is that it also includes transport from Queenstown.

It is a unique adventure activity in Queenstown, and the perfect option for those who just can’t quite get the nerve to do bungy jumping, but still want a similar adrenaline-filled experience.

Like most adventure tours in Queenstown, the Shotover Canyon Swing should be booked in advance to secure your spot.

9. Nevis Catapult

Nevis Catapult in Queenstown, New Zealand
Photo credit: AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand

Another adventure activity that is unique to Queenstown is the Nevis Catapult. As a fairly new attraction, this is a popular add-on to those who are already tackling the Nevis Bungy. It is perfect for adrenaline-seekers and those who can’t get enough of the thrill.

It’s the world’s biggest human catapult!

Like a sling-shot, you’ll get catapulted (is that even a word) 150 meters (492 ft) at a speed of 150 kph in 1.5 seconds across a canyon. It’s a crazy ride and only those who are brave enough will try it.

The Nevis Catapult costs about $225 NZD, with deals available on certain dates or when tickets are bought in a package with the Nevis Bungy.

10. Go on a lake cruise

Bailey on the TSS Earnslaw
Jugging along on the TSS Earnslaw!
bailey stands at the front of the TSS Earnslaw in Queenstown
It’s an iconic activity in Queenstown!

Adventure activities don’t necessarily all have to be crazy. To me, adventure activities in Queenstown are also about just getting out and exploring. Go somewhere new, wander new places, learn new things – this is all adventuring too!

Does cruising along the deep blue waters of Lake Wakatipu sound like it’s just your speed? If so, there is no shortage of cruise companies to choose from where you can enjoy the stunning views from one of New Zealand’s most beautiful lakes.

From historic steamships to more modern luxury digs, there are a number of ways to enjoy a leisurely cruise down Lake Wakatipu. Whichever one you choose, you simply can’t beat the view of Queenstown from out on the water.

For a historic twist, take a ride aboard the mighty TSS Earnslaw, an iconic century-old coal-fired steamship. You can tour the engine room and explore historic displays of the ship’s former life on this 90-minute cruise. Add on a gourmet lunch buffet at the scenic Walter Peak Farm for the ultimate afternoon experience complete with a delicious (trust me on this) BBQ lunch.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a cheaper activity to do, consider this Spirit of Queenstown scenic cruise. This cruise is on board a catamaran and also lasts for 90 minutes – but it starts at only $49 NZD per person for adults and $10 for children! It’s just quick activity that you can easily make time for in your itinerary.

11. Ride the Queenstown Gondola up to Bob’s Peak

View of Queenstown from the top of the Gondola on Bob's Peak in Queenstown
The view is epic!

Jump inside the Skyline Gondola for a ride that’ll take you 450 meters (1,476 ft) up to Bob’s Peak (the Southern Hemisphere’s steepest cable car!) From inside the fully transparent glass enclosure, you’ll take in views over Lake Wakatipu, the Remarkables mountain range, and of course, Queenstown!

Once you get to the top of the gondola at Bob’s Peak your day isn’t over yet – there is lots more to do! Try out the Queenstown Luge for some added fun (more on the Luge below.)

You can also grab a bite to eat or drink up at Bob’s Peak. Choose from a laid-back cafe or splurge on a romantic meal at Stratosfare Restaurant & Bar (my personal favorite) as you overlook some of the finest views in the Southern Hemisphere. Even if you aren’t hungry, having a glass of wine here while watching the sunset is absolute perfection.

There are also various walking trails you can explore up at Bob’s Peak for beautiful views over Queenstown.

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12. Ride the Luge 

People ride the luge in Queenstown with views of Lake Wakatipu in the background
You can go really fast and race your mates!

Once at the top of Bob’s Peak my favorite thing to do is ride the Queenstown Luge. To me, no adventure to Bob’s Peak is complete without riding it!

If you aren’t familiar with “luging”, it’s kind of like go-karting except instead of a motor, these little carts are gravity-powered as the track slopes down a hill.  

It might sound kind of lame, but it isn’t. Honestly in Queenstown, the Luge goes really fast! You can control your speed by using the break, and chances are you won’t be able to ride the whole track without using your break at least a couple of times (yes, that’s a challenge!) 

Riding the Luge costs $14 for one ride, or they have deals if you buy multiple rides at once or combine them with your gondola ticket. My best advice is to buy at least two rides but the more you buy the better the value. On your first time on the Luge, they will make you ride the “easy” track. After that, you’re free to try the faster track and that’s when the fun really begins! 

Kids as young as 6 years old and 110 cm tall (43 in) can ride Red Track on the Luge by themselves. Kids over 135 cm tall (53 in) can also ride the Blue Track alone. Kids under these requirements can ride with an adult as many times as they want for only $5!

Related Read: Want to learn more about the Queenstown Luge? Check out my blog for tons more detailed info!

13. Mountain biking

A man rides down the Queenstown Bike Park
Mountain biking around Queenstown means you’ll enjoy some epic views!

The best time to visit Queenstown for mountain biking is in summer. People come from all over to mountain bike Queentown’s trails. The most popular mountain biking trails are the downhill ones from the top of Bob’s Peak.

You can purchase daily lift passes that’ll take you and your bike up the mountain as many times as you want. This is perfect for those who don’t want to have to ride uphill to get the thrill of the downhill.

Another option is to visit Cardrona. One of the best winter activities is to come when Cardrona is a ski resort. But in the summer it is all about mountain biking (or mountain carting!) here. They have full-day lift passes that you can purchase online, as well as this beginner package that includes all the gear you’re going to need.

Alternatively, if you have your own wheels and bike, you can drive up to trails around town like Coronet Peak. Or, this guided tour will take you up to a private trail on Grant Peak with e-bikes!

Bike Rentals: There are bike rental stores everywhere in Queenstown. If you want to ensure a bike, you can secure a standard one here, or an electric one here.

14. Go canyoning

Bailey looks on as someone repels down while canyoning in Queenstown
I loved it!
A person slides down a waterfall while canyoning in Queenstown
It’s scary and fun!

My favorite adventure activity in Queenstown is canyoning. I know, that’s a big statement, but it’s true! Canyoning is just so much fun, and to me, it’s the perfect combination of a thrilling experience without being too crazy.

There are many different canyoning experiences you can choose from in Queenstown including half-day and full-day options. Personally, I think the half-day experience is enough though and the one I did was a ton of fun. The half-day canyon is located in the Gibbston Valley and the full-day one is in Mt Aspiring National Park.

Either way, both are amazing and you’ll have so much fun zip lining, repelling, swimming, jumping, and navigating a canyon to the endpoint.

The water in the canyons is cold, but you are given a wetsuit, helmet, and life jacket for the tour. You’ll also get a harness for repelling down into the canyon. The tour companies do recommend that you have a certain amount of comfort in the water, but seriously it’s so much fun!

One thing to note is that canyoning is a summer activity, and you won’t be able to join the tour during the winter months.

15. Via Ferrata rock climbing

Via Ferrata Rock climbing in New Zealand
Me doing Via Ferrata in Queenstown – look, no hands!

I’m not an experienced rock climber, in fact, I’ve never done it before. However, during the summer in Queenstown, everyone seems to go rock-climbing so I decided to give it a go. Of course, with no experience, I didn’t want to just hit a rock wall so instead, I joined this Via Ferrata tour.

Via Ferrata is an Italian word that translates to the “iron road”. Basically, it’s like rock climbing but with an iron route of pegs and ladder rungs. The great thing about Via Ferrata is that anyone can do it and it’s really safe! On the tour in Queenstown, I climbed a wall on Gorge Road and must have climbed a thousand feet at least! It was crazy, but super fun too.

I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to challenge themselves and experience the feeling of rock climbing!

Update: Unfortunately the Via Ferrata is currently not running in Queenstown.

16. Soar in the sky on a scenic flight

Scenic views from a flight in Queenstown
Bailey sits in a helicopter and looks out the front in Queenstown
They are the best way to see the area!

Queenstown is beautiful from every angle but one many don’t get to see is from the sky. With a vantage point a few thousand feet above town, you’ll be able to take in more scenery than you can imagine, and do it at a much faster pace.

I’ve personally done a scenic flight in Mount Cook National Park in a helicopter and loved it.

When it comes to scenic flights you can choose between either a helicopter or a small fixed-wing plane. Personally, I love helicopter rides, and trust me, from the sky Queenstown is stunning! This half-day helicopter tour is also a great deal for the amount you will see so it is well worth considering for such a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

If you want to both visit Milford Sound and go on a scenic flight in Queenstown then you should definitely combine the two on this epic tour. It’ll save you money and you’ll get to fly to Milford Sound over a remote part of the Southern Alps! Plus, there are a few excellent options when it comes to flights from Queenstown, including some unforgettable helicopter flights where you can land on a glacier!

Related Read: For more ideas of where to go, learn about the best helicopter tours in all of New Zealand!

17. Hit the slopes

Bailey skiing in New Zealand
I’m not the best but I still love it!

The number one thing to do in Queenstown in winter is to hit the slopes. It’s the main reason most people visit in the winter, and to be honest, I don’t blame them. Skiing and snowboarding are so much fun and if you’re coming from places like Australia, it’s likely the only place to go nearby with decent snow. With that said, don’t expect North American ski hills, they’re much smaller in New Zealand!

There are three ski hills close to Queenstown called The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, and Cardrona. The two I personally love are The Remarkables and Cardrona. Although Coronet Peak is a good ski field, the snow is often really hard due to its location.

Regardless, hit the slopes this winter in Queenstown and we may even bump into each other (hopefully not too hard!)

Related Read: For more info, read my blog all about skiing in Queenstown!

18. SUP or kayaking on the lake

Two kayaks sit on the beach at Kinloch Campsite in Glenorchy
Paddle to a remote beach and relax!

During the spring and summer months, stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking are really popular activities on the lakes around Queenstown. The best part is though is that rentals are really cheap. In fact, a SUP board costs only $25 NZD for 45 minutes and the boards are big enough to take your little one along for the ride. I will warn you though, if you fall in, it’s freezing!

If staying dry is important then I’d rent a kayak instead. Rentals are based on the number of people you’re traveling with and a two-person kayak for 45 minutes is $50 NZD. On a kayak, you can go much further and even explore small bays and secluded beaches. Both can be rented from the Queenstown waterfront.

If you want to visit a real hidden gum, then join either a SUP or kayak out at Moke Lake. Moke Lake is stunning, and honestly, I highly recommend checking it out even if you don’t join this adventure tour!

Related Read: Visiting Queenstown in December? Read my blog about the best activities, events, and more!

19. White water surfing

Riverboarding in Queenstown with Serious fun Riverboarding
Photo credit: Serious fun Riverboarding

Have you ever heard of river surfing before? Well, before coming to Queenstown I hadn’t either! It’s easily one of the most unique adventure activities on offer in Queenstown.

River surfing is essentially whitewater rafting but instead of an inflatable boat, you hold onto a small floating board, kind of like a bodyboard! Although the rapids are smaller than what you typically see whitewater rafting, it feels a lot more extreme because you are not in a boat. There is a bit of technique involved in river surfing, and your guide will teach you before you head off.

River surfing is offered by only one company in Queenstown, and they offer a few different experiences starting at $265 NZD per person.

20. Hang gliding

Are you ready to sore into the air?! Lying beneath a pair of hang gliding “wings”, you and your guide will glide through the sky high above Queenstown from up at Coronet Peak Ski Fields. You’ll get an adrenaline rush and epic views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu at once.

To be honest, I’ve never been hang-gliding before (yes, another thing to do in Queenstown added to my bucket list.) But from speaking to people who have done both hang gliding and paragliding, it sounds like hang gliding is much more extreme since you’ll move faster through the air. Paragliding is a lot slower and more relaxing, whereas hang gliding will probably get your heart rate up a little more.

Expect to pay around $250 NZD for a hang gliding flight, and you can secure your spot online in advance.

21. Paragliding

A person paraglides over Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown
The views you get are out of this world!

Similar, but different, to hang gliding is paragliding. Like hang gliding, you’ll be attached to your guide as you run off the edge of a mountain into the sky. With paragliding, you’ll be seated as you float calmly through the air. It is a little bit less extreme than hang-gliding if you ask me – which means more time to enjoy the scenery and views.

It’s an adrenaline rush as you go running off the edge of a mountain. However, once you’ve been in the air for a few minutes it becomes a lot more relaxing and you can really just enjoy the view.

Expect to pay around $235 NZD for a flight, and you can choose between a summer paragliding experience or a winter paragliding experience depending on the time of year you’re visiting Queenstown.

22. Parasailing

Queenstown Paraflights
Photo credit: Queenstown Paraflights

Parasailing is another one of those iconic things to do in Queenstown. You’ll be pulled behind a speed boat flying high into the sky under a parachute.

Parasailing in Queenstown departs from the water’s edge near Earnslaw Park at Queenstown Paraflights. You can fly solo, tandem, or in a triple, making it a fun family activity. That’s right, kids are allowed to go parasailing too! Parasailing is available all year round, and they can guarantee you won’t get wet!

The price per person depends on the number of people flying at once, but expect to pay between $100-$200 NZD per adult, with discounted child prices available too.

23. Milford Sound Trip

A breathtaking waterfall on the edge of Milford Sound
The waterfalls are a highlight!
A boat travels right up to Stirling Falls in Milford Sound
Oh the waterfalls!

The most popular tour from Queenstown is a day trip to Milford Sound. Milford Sound is another attraction you can visit during any season in Queenstown. This giant glacier-carved valley is known (in New Zealand) as the unofficial 8th Natural Wonder of the World, and after visiting you’ll be able to see why.

You can choose between a huge variety of Milford tours including coach tours, one that includes a scenic flight one way, or scenic flights both ways. All tours include a boat cruise once in Milford Sound. If you have the budget, this scenic flight combined with a cruise and road trip one-way is the absolute best tour to Milford. Otherwise, for the best budget option, check out this one, or for something a little different, do a cruise and kayak combo tour!

If you plan on driving yourself, be sure to stop at the best attractions along the drive from Queenstown to Milford.

The truth is, no matter how you choose to explore Milford Sound, it will prove to be an adventure!

24. Hiking!

There are lots of different hikes to choose from in Queenstown, but for the purpose of this blog, I’ve narrowed it down to my two favorites that are also some of the most adventurous and challenging:

Queenstown Hill 

Looking out from the summit of Queenstown Hill
Just enjoying the view on Queenstown Hill.

Queenstown Hill is one of the easier hikes that still offers amazing views. Although I call it “easy”, it isn’t without its challenges. This trail climbs over 400 meters (1,313 feet) in elevation over about 2.5 kilometers (16. mi). It is a steady uphill climb most of the way. 

Most people take around 3 hours to complete the entire trail. 

The views from the top are amazing though and totally worth the effort. From the Basket of Dreams (a sculpture on the hill), you can enjoy the view of Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables, and Queenstown itself.  

Queenstown Hill Track is an out-and-back trail that starts not far from the town center on Belfast Terrace. The trailhead location can be found on Google Maps. If you walk to the trailhead from downtown Queenstown, you’ll add a whopping 200 meters (656 feet) extra elevation gain to your total hike.

Ben Lomond 

Bailey stands at the summit of Ben Lomond and overlooks Queenstown, New Zealand
Ben Lomond Summit!

The Ben Lomond Track is one of the more challenging hikes around Queenstown, but it also offers the best views. The trail officially starts up at Bob’s Peak (where the gondola goes). So, you can take the gondola up and start the hike from there (this is an awesome shortcut) or you can hike from town on the Tiki Trail.

The Tiki Trail starts at the end of Brecon Street near the gondola station and takes you up to Bob’s Peak where you connect with Ben Lomond Track. 

To hike to Ben Lomond Summit from Queenstown and back you need to allow 6-8 hours. Also, in the winter or under bad weather conditions, it may be unsafe to hike to the summit. You can also check with the DOC office in Queenstown about trail conditions before you leave.  

Even if the weather isn’t ideal, you can always just hike to the saddle. This makes the hike much shorter and to be honest, the views are just as good! 

25. Game Over Queenstown

People ride go karts at Game Over Queenstown
Photo credit – Game Over Queenstown

For a little indoor adventure, consider heading to Game Over Queenstown. The huge warehouse is home to three activities including an arcade, laser tag, and even an indoor go-karting track. My personal favorite is the go-karts and although not the fastest, kids love them – it is easily one of the best things to do in Queenstown with kids. The track has really tight corners so you feel as though you are going faster than you are!

The cheapest thing to do at Game Over is the arcade, though, and games start at only $1 each. They have a huge selection of games including skill testers and my favorite, table air hockey! I’ve personally never tried their laser tag, but it does look like lots of fun too.

Where to Stay in Queenstown

Hot Tub over looking the river and mountains at Kamana Soak in Queenstown, New Zealand
Photo credit: Kamana Lakehouse

Finding the right place to stay in Queenstown can be hard. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of awesome choices, but things book up fast! For that reason, I highly suggest booking your accommodation well in advance.

Honestly, during peak times, any of the best hotels in Queenstown will be fully booked several weeks in advance…you have been warned! To help you plan ahead, here are a few places I personally love and that would make an awesome place to stay in Queenstown.

Kamana Lakehouse – $$$

For a luxurious stay, I highly recommend Kamana Lakehouse. This hotel is located just on the outskirts of town. Although it’s super peaceful, it’s just a 5-minute drive into the center of town. The place overlooks both the lake and the mountains, and the onsite restaurant uses local, seasonal ingredients to create the freshest meals. To top it off, many of the rooms boast lake views, and some even have outdoor baths!

The trick will be snagging this for your dates (it’s a popular place!). Rooms start around the $400 NZD mark, and you can check availability and book online here.

La Quinta Queenstown – $$

If you’re looking for a mid-range hotel, then you should seriously consider La Quinta Queenstown. This beautiful hotel is right by the airport but still very quiet. Plus, the views are amazing (although you won’t find me recommending a place without great views!). The rooms are all studio or one-bedroom apartments, which is really handy if you want to cook or even just have breakfast in your room.

Prices start at $200 NZD and you can book online here.

Absoloot Hostel Queenstown – $

My top choice for budget travelers is the Absoloot Hostel Queenstown. This small hostel has dorm rooms and budget private rooms, and it’s really clean and comfortable. The location is in the heart of Queenstown – the window from the kitchen looks out over Lake Wakatipu!

Dorms are around $55 NZD, and private rooms begin around $210 NZD. The Absoloot Hostel is easily one of the top cheap hostels in Queenstown and can be booked on or

Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand

Bailey stands in front of a right green JUCY campervan
JUCY is one of my favorite campervan rental companies (read below for a discount code!)
Bailey stands behind her Mad Campers campervan cooking in the kitchen at Piha Beach
I also really like Mad Campers!

Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!

You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:

  • Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
  • Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It’s what most budget travelers use for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping…and be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime! My favorite campervan rental company is JUCY because they have a huge selection of campervans to choose from, plus multiple pick-up/drop-off locations. You can browse JUCY’s campervan selection online here. Alternatively, you can easily compare all campervans available in NZ on Motorhome Republic here.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve managed to snag a discount code for 5% off for my readers if you book your campervan or motorhome through JUCY or Star RV! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey from My Queenstown Diary before going kayaking in Milford Sound
Thanks for reading!

There you have it, 25 exciting adventure activities in Queenstown – NZ’s very own adventure capital! I really hope my blog has helped inspire you to test your nerves and tackle some adrenaline-filled experiences in Queenstown!

Of course, there’s more to Queenstown than adventure activities. Browse all my Queenstown blogs for more ideas of things to do and ways to plan your epic trip. I’ve also written a ton about the South Island in general, and a few of my very favorite road trips! Or enjoy from some of these guides listed here:

The BEST 5 Days in Queenstown Itinerary – From a Local!

15 BEST Restaurants in Queenstown

19 Places to Stop Between Queenstown and Franz Josef